Ashley’s Bridal Shower

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I had the pleasure of throwing my friend Ashely’s bridal shower a few weeks ago, and it was so much fun!  I made a spread of what is quickly becoming my usual go-to items: cake pops, fruit cups, chicken salad on croissants and some other sweet treats.

I love that a bridal shower gives you the setting to meet some of the people closest to the bride before the big day, so that when her day does come, you know quite a few faces.  I had a great time getting to know these ladies and can’t wait to see them all again when we’re dressed in our formal wear!

 

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(family secret: croissants and pre-made chicken salad are both from Costco and neither disappoint!)

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The beautiful invitations were provided by Wedding Paperie and were seriously gorgeous.  I got so many compliments on them!  You could leave them as they were designed, or customize any detail.  I loved that you could also print on the backside for no additional charge.  If you’re planning an event in the near future I would definitely recommend them!  You can see all of the bridal shower invitations here.

 

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I know that most people toss favors when they get home, so I almost didn’t do one.  And then as I was putting my hair in a ponytail it just came to me, “Ashely and Edward tie the knot!”

Hair ties!

I already had a ton of elastic ribbon from making headbands for Adelaide, so I picked up some kraft tags from Michaels and printed up this sign that reads “Ashely and Edward tie the knot.  Please take one!” and displayed them by the door.  Every single one of them was gone, so I’d say it was a well received favor!  For those who are interested, you can buy the elastic here.

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http://www.sunshineshoppesupply.com/

Congratulations, Ashley!  I’m so excited for you and Edward and can’t wait to celebrate with you on your big day!

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Coney Island

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We spent a Saturday afternoon at the Aquarium and then Coney Island, which basically means chasing Adelaide all around Brooklyn.  The zoo pass Jon got me for Mother’s Day also includes the Aquarium, so on a day we had nothing to do we found ourselves driving down to explore.  We didn’t last there long since most of the exhibits are still closed post-Sandy, so we wandered over to the boardwalks.

There was a playground in the middle of the beach that Adelaide played on, and then would ask us to clean her hands.  And then play some more, and run over so we could wipe her hands.  That girl.  Doesn’t like to get dirty.

I’ve had pep talks with her telling her that little girls get dirty, but so far she’s not interested.

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the baloney bug We’re en route to California today, where we’ll spend the next two weeks in San Francisco, Monterrey, Santa Barbara and LA.  While we were in San Francisco and LA for quite a while last year, it was with a baby, so I feel like the game has totally changed.  So long are the days of Adelaide taking long naps in the stroller while I lazily walk around between shops and restaurants.  Any suggestions for fun things to do with a toddler are welcome!

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Changes

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Today marks a significant day in my life, both personal and professional.  After nearly four years of working for a company I love, along side some of the best people I’ve met, I will hand in my badge.

Jon and I have decided that what’s best for our family, right now, is for me to stay at home with Adelaide.

While I was pregnant and during my maternity leave, we struggled with deciding if I should go back to work.  We ultimately decided that I would give it a shot and see how it went.  It’s been almost a year since I returned, and it’s going fine.  I like working.  I like talking to adults and eating lunch with both hands.

But as Adelaide gets older, I realize just how much of her day to day I’m missing.  Not to mention, by the time I get home from work she’s tired and fussy, I’m tired and fussy.  I was getting the worst parts of her day without getting any of the good parts.

I always felt like I was running out the door at home to get to work, and running out the door at work to get back home.  I never felt fully in one place or the other.

So Jon and I talked about it.  And talked some more.  We discussed how it would affect our finances and lifestyle.  And ultimately we decided that the benefits of me staying home with Adelaide outweighed the benefits of me working.

I’m nervous.  I’m really nervous, actually.

Nervous about being lonely until I get in a groove and meet mom friends, about finding things for us to do all day, every day. About the cold days and the rainy days.

But I’m also excited.  So excited.

So here’s to the good and the unexpected and to making changes that scare us.  Happy Friday, friends.

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Adelaide’s Donut Party

the baloney bug I never thought I’d feel so emotional about my baby turning one.  I always hear moms talking about their kid turning one and think, “Okay, it’s not really that big of a deal.

But it is.  In so many ways.

I mean, first off, I survived a year of parenting.  I think that alone is worth a party.

There were days over the last year that just dragged on, but then somehow they turned into weeks and before I knew it, I had a one year old.  One who is walking and doing tricks and constantly making me laugh.

I keep thinking back to a year ago when my water broke, when we walked the halls of the hospital, when I trusted my body and when I became a mother.  I think about that call I made to my mom to tell her I was in labor and how I started crying thinking about how my life was about to change, while she told me I could do this.

My life has stayed the same in some ways, and simultaneously changed in every way.

I sometimes forget that I’m a mom.  When I go to work or when I am out without Adelaide.  I’m just another normal person on the street, except I’m not.  I’m a mother to a precious girl.  A one year old.

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I decided a while back that the party theme would be donuts.  And yes, donuts can be a party theme.  Why not?  We served donuts from Doughnut Plant which were a huge hit.  Since our party was at noon, I wanted to serve brunch type foods.  We had also rented out a space, so I couldn’t serve any hot foods.  I finally decided on donuts (of course), bagels, donut shaped cake pops, chicken salad on croissants and fresh fruit cups.  And booze. 14-03-08_1st_Birthday_05 the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug

The majority of our party was adults, so we set up a bloody mary bar (so much fun picking ingredients for this- even made some bacon which was a hit), mimosas (with orange and grapefruit juice), water and coffee.  I had a dream a few days before the party that we forgot celery for the bloody mary bar.  The horror!

We also asked that our friends not bring gifts.  We live in a tiny apartment and just don’t have the space for extra things.  Plus we wanted to just have our friends all gather and come have a good time without have to worry about picking out a gift for a one year old.  Our friends are so generous though, and literally every person asked if they could bring something or help out in some way.  In hindsight I might have asked them to bring food or toiletries for the shelter my church supports so that they didn’t feel awkward showing up empty handed.

The room was filled with our friends and family who love us and love Adelaide.  To look every direction and see the people that have helped you raise your daughter is a feeling like no other.  I know how lucky I am to have had the support I’ve had over the last year and I’m eternally grateful for every single one of those people.  It really does take a village. the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug I was hesitant to have a smash cake at the party for a few reasons.  We’d have to get a high chair to the party location, Adelaide would of course get messy, but how messy?  I decided to suck it up and go for it.  The cake was made at a local bakery (I just asked for a plain white 4″ cake) and I put donut shaped cake pops on top.

I brought a change of clothes for her and a ton of wipes. 

Turns out we didn’t really need them because girlfriend doesn’t want any cake.

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She was not at all interested in the cake.  She picked off the donuts one by one and tossed them to the ground.  She wouldn’t even touch the cake, so finally Jon put his finger in the icing and gave her a taste.  She was still skeptical.  Finally, we got her a fork and she took a few bites off of a fork and then tried to stand up and get out of her chair.  Basically, it was the cleanest smash cake you’ve ever seen.  She didn’t wear a bib and didn’t get a speck of icing on her clothes.  She kills me. the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug I still can’t believe I have a one year old.  I’m so lucky to be her mama.

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Thoughts on Having an Almost One Year Old

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^^Getting some walking practice in before bath

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^^The subway doors opened, this guy got on  one knee and proposed.  Then the subway doors closed and they were off.  It was awesome.

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^^Brady steals Jon’s seat on the couch

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^^Loves snow.  At least someone is enjoying this winter.

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follow along @joan_gilbert

This weekend my little baby turns one.  It’s hitting me much harder than I expected.  My heart almost feels heavy thinking that she’s not a little baby anymore.  I’ll save the rest of my mushy thoughts about this for her actual birthday post.

We’re full swing into party mode in our apartment.  I’m so excited to have all of the people who have supported us and loved on her over the last year in one place at one time to celebrate.

Bring on the party!

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A {Very Belated} Christmas Post

the baloney bug Oh, was Christmas over a month ago?  That’s funny.  Well, these pictures are still adorable, and better late than never.  Right?  Right??

the baloney bug the baloney bug Be still my heart.  That face. 

the baloney bug Her favorite activity: giving the dog her food.

the baloney bug the baloney bug Ha!  That face! 

the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug Giving Nanny the hand print ornament we made.

the baloney bug Not so excited for her thank you kiss.

the baloney bug the baloney bug Like a pro on that laptop.

the baloney bug One of her favorite hobbies: riding on Daddy’s shoulders.

the baloney bug She *always* loses one sock.

the baloney bug Merry belated Christmas.  The holidays had so much more meaning and sparkle with a little one this year.

And Christmas pjs.  Those make everything more fun.

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Mommy Brain

the baloney bug It’s funny how when you become pregnant and keep forgetting things they say you have “pregnancy brain” and then after you have the baby and you forget literally everything they say you have “mommy brain”.  When I was pregnant I went to walk Brady and found myself standing on the street in my slippers.  Um, maybe shoes would have been a better idea?  And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten or lost my phone since March.  I would have never forgotten my phone pre-baby, and now it’s a complete after thought.

A few days ago I read this article in Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.  Apparently a mother’s brain actually grows during pregnancy and postpartum.  So pregnant brain and mom brain is a real thing.  The parts of the brain that grow include the parts that deal with emotions, reward, maternal motivation, reasoning and judgement.

So when they say you’ve never experienced the kind of love a parent has for their child, you literally have never experienced it until you’ve had a child.  How incredibly awesome is that?

This little baby of mine is everything.  She’s adorable and demanding and loud and I would give her the world.

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Pennings Orchard

the baloney bug you see that smile right?  she’s killing it.

Saturday we went apple picking with a group of our friends at Pennings Orchard.  The weather ended up being crazy warm and didn’t feel like fall at all.  Which is fine by me, because I wish it were summer year round.

Last year when we went apple picking I was 17 weeks pregnant.  It was so fun to bring the baby this year.  Up until now she’s been completely uninterested in food, so it was exciting to see her clutching her apples in her tiny little hands and giving them licks and taking the occasional bite.  Melt my heart, whydontcha?

the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug the baloney bug Last year Jon juggled apples, so in keeping with tradition everyone gave it a go. the baloney bug Kristin gave it a shot… the baloney bug And it didn’t go so well.  I love this shot of her covering her head! the baloney bug Happy Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend as well!

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How to Save Money on the Things You’re Already Buying

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While I was home on maternity leave, I became a bit addicted to the show “Extreme Couponing”.  Basically, they’re organized hoarders who get unlimited amounts of barbeque sauce for free.  While I would never go that far, or be that dedicated, I’ve found a few ways to save money without clipping a single coupon.  I’m getting money off of the things I was already buying.  Winning!

1. Ebates- I’m listing this one first because it is far and away my favorite.  I’m literally obsessed.  Ebates gives you a percentage back from your online purchases.  In the form of a check.  It’s not a scam, it’s not a gimmick.  My biggest check to date was over $80.  All you have to do is go to Ebates.com when you’re shopping online.  You search the website you want to shop, click on it and Ebates will redirect you to the site you want to shop.  And that’s all you have to do.

I even got a $10 Target gift card just for signing up, and you get money for referring friends as well.  (cough cough, use my links!) 

We use Ebates when booking travel as well as shopping for baby stuff at a few of my favorites- Gap, Nordstrom and Target.  It’s free money.  Seriously, sign up.  I have the toolbar installed on my browser which makes it even easier!

2. Amazon Subscribe & Save- I’m also obsessed with this one, almost as much as I am with Ebates.  You add whatever items you would buy on a reoccurring basis to your Subscribe & Save.  You choose the date you want your shipment delivered and how frequently you want your deliveries.  I buy dog food, dog treats, dishwasher detergent, hand sanitizer, hair spray, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner.  You get a 5% discount off each item for subscribing.  However, if you have 5 items you get a 15% discount on each item.  And even better, if you are a member of Amazon Mom (which is free to join if you have Prime!) you get 20% off your Subscribe & Save items!!  That’s HUGE!!!  You can get diapers, wipes, k-cups etc at a major discount!  No coupon clipping required.

3. Target- I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Target.  Download their free app for your iPhone.  It lists daily deals as well as updates weekly with the new circular.  And you can download the free coupons and scan at checkout.  Last week I was shopping with my mom and she bought a Merona sweater.  I pulled up the app, the cashier scanned it and my mom saved $3.  Once I forgot to use it and went over to customer service with my receipt and they handed me a $5 bill back.  I mean, if that isn’t free money, I don’t know what is.  You can also use it with your Target REDcard which is a debit card that saves you 5% off all Target purchases.

4. Starbucks- All you have to do is register a gift card online.  When you pay for your coffee (or food!) with the gift card  you earn points.  Every 12 transactions gets you a free drink or food item.  You can add the registered card to the Starbucks app (and in Passbook if you have an iPhone) so you don’t even have to carry the card with you.  Just keep reloading the same gift card (with the tap of a finger from your phone, or the barista can do it if you prefer) and keep racking up the points.  You’ll also get a free drink on your birthday.  Another helpful hint: you get points based on how many transactions, so if you’re purchasing a muffin and a coffee, ask the barista to ring them up separately!

What are your favorite money saving tips?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

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This whole working mom thing is exhausting.  So instead of a real blog post I’ll give you this adorable photo to hold you over.  Seriously.  I die.  The kid knows how to wear a hat.

A little update:

I’ve been back to work for almost a month.  I actually really enjoy going to the office and then running out the door at 5 o’clock to get home to my baby.  There’s nothing better than walking in the door after being gone all day to see that face light up when she sees you.  On the flip side, this morning she cried when I kissed her goodbye.  Talk about making my heart hurt.

Last Thursday she drank 5oz. which is the most she’s had to date.  I was so excited and encouraged.  And then on Friday she drank half an ounce THE ENTIRE DAY.  So nothing.  The moment I picked her up she started licking my shirt trying to get milk.

The upsetting thing is that she takes bottles from me.  Yesterday she barely drank all day, so when I got home I decided to try to feed her from the bottle instead of throwing it out.  She drank it.

We give her my shirt when I’m away, I pump milk fresh right before I walk out the door.  I think we’ve tried everything.  I’m really hoping we turn a corner soon, because I’m not sure how much of this I can handle.

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